In 2016, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recorded close to 670,000 drone registrations. The number is expected to rise significantly in the coming years. Also referred to as small unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), drones are considered by many as the best way to capture stunning aerial shots.
Nowadays, many companies have added a powerful tool to their marketing arsenal—aerial drone photography. Understandably, the bird’s eye view is always enthralling and engaging, and this is something many brands are wise enough to incorporate in their advertising and storytelling.
The Lowdown on Drones
Not all drones have been created equal. The same is true when it comes to drone operators. Drones can range from tech toys to beasts that carry cinema-quality lenses and cameras. The latter typically requires two operators: one flies the drone, and the other operates the camera.
There are also drones that are designed to shoot movie-level footage. Primarily, the difference between intermediate hobbyist level drones that cost $40 and those that have a hefty price tag (close to $20 grand for some) is that costly ones can carry various lenses.
Intermediate drones often come with fixed-focus lenses, so getting jaw-dropping aerial shots is a breeze. If you are considering hiring a drone photographer for your next advertising campaign, choosing the right drone photographer is crucial.
Picking the Right Drone Photographer: Top Tips to Keep in Mind
When choosing the best drone photographer for your campaign, below are some of the basics you need to keep in mind:
Do they have a license?
As of August 29, 2019, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires those who use drones for businesses to get a license. Having a license is crucial as it can help warrant any footage captured is legal and won’t violate UAS laws or restricted airspace.
Drone operators with a license are also less likely to put your firm’s reputation and name at risk. Licensed professionals would also think twice about flying their drones at times that are disruptive or breaking any of the airspace rules.
Can they achieve the results you are looking for?
Getting beautiful footage and flying a drone are two different skills. It is imperative that the drone professional you’ll hire has mastered both. Good drone photographers should have a clear understanding of how to control the camera setting to achieve the results you are looking for.
Moreover, it would be ideal to hire those that have a clear grasp of pacing and composition. While many intermediate drones provide incredible camera stabilization that results in smooth shots, unskilled drone photographers can easily undo those clever engineering.
Case in point: if you want a stunning sunrise shot and the camera drastically jerks to the left, the shot can take off on a new tangent. This turn is considered the trademark of a novice operator and can instantly ruin a fantastic shot.
The key takeaways are this: ask about a prospect’s experience and some samples of footage they have produced before signing on the dotted line.
Can they tell your story effectively?
It’s easy to get lost in the excitement of producing superb and unique shots. However, it is also essential to figure out if the drone footage can actually tell your story effectively. You need also to remember that while drone shots can be dramatic and unique, they can also be impersonal when shot by a novice.
Producing those hard-to-get shots designed to impress and resonate with the people requires the skills and expertise of a professional. If anything, a drone professional can produce images that can tell your story beautifully.
It is also recommended that you sit down with your chosen drone photographer to figure out how the shots will fit into the story you want to convey.
Can their drone produce the shots you want?
Just because a prospect has a drone and a good-looking portfolio, it does not always follow that they can produce the shots you are looking for. In line with this, it is ideal that you ask about the capabilities of their drone and the kind of footage they can produce.
Also, if you are hiring two directors of photography—one for the drone shots and another for the bulk of your footage, their quality of work must be the same to produce a seamless and polished final product.
The beauty and benefits of today’s drone technology remain unequaled. Those who want impossible shots but don’t have a massive budget now have this technology available at their disposal. Also, by keeping the following basics mentioned above in mind, you’ll be able to work with a drone photographer that can effectively tell your story and give you the most bang for your buck.